A visit to the Rocketship Nashville Northeast Elementary revealed the school was not adequately serving English language learners, students with disabilities, and homeless students, according to a report on WSMV:
According to the Metro Schools letter, Rocketship is not providing services to children with special learning needs, like English language learners and students with disabilities.
The notice was sent from Metro Nashville Public School’s top administrators after a monitoring team with the Tennessee Department of Education came in to conduct a routine audit of special services, primarily programs adhering to The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
The letter from MNPS notes a plan of improvement for Rocketship.
In response to the findings, Rocketship’s principal, Shaka Mitchell, cited test score results and then said:
We are proud of the results Rocketship achieved in its first few years but are always striving to improve. We appreciate and value the constructive input from our colleagues at MNPS and the state. We worked with the District as recently as yesterday and today, and continue to collaborate to resolve the technical issues noted in the most recent monitoring visit
Rocketship has faced difficulty with the state and MNPS in the past, as in two consecutive years it sought to expand its presence in Nashville only to be denied by both the MNPS school board and the Tennessee State Board of Education.
Here’s what the MNPS charter review team had to say last year when Rocketship appealed the board’s decision to deny expansion:
In summary, with no additional state accountability data to consider, and no compelling evidence presented that provides confidence in the review team, converting an existing low-performing school before Rocketship has demonstrated academic success on state accountability measures would not be in the best interests of the students, the district, or the community.
As was noted in the WSMV story, the problems identified at Rocketship are not acceptable at any school, regardless of what kind of scores they are posting. Mitchell and his colleagues should work quickly to deliver on the promise of resolving these issues and striving for continuous improvement.
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